To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what comparative assessment he has made of current waiting times for (a) paediatric assessments and (b) initial paediatric appointments for Autism Spectrum Conditions in Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire and average waiting times in England.
No specific assessment has been made.
Data currently collected by NHS Digital in the Mental Health Services Data Set (MHSDS) does not enable an assessment to be made of the waiting time from referral to a completed autism assessment, due to incompleteness of this data. However, it is possible to assess the average wait time from referral to first received care contact, this may or may not be a completed diagnosis assessment, for patients with a referral for suspected autism.
Based on the available data from the MHSDS from the year 1 July 2021 to 30 June 2022 in England, 95,210 patients aged under 18 at time of referral had an open referral for suspected autism. Of these 30,095 have received a first attended contact. The median wait time for these 30,095 patients was 217 days. In the same time period for Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), there were around 65 patients aged under 18 with open referral for suspected autism and of these 65 patients around 20 received a first attended contact with a median wait time of 172 days.
This assessment only includes data submitted to the MHSDS. Our understanding is that the majority of children assessed for autism are seen in child development services, these services submit data to the Community Services Data Set (CSDS). However, it is not currently possible to correctly identify referrals for suspected autism from the CSDS and so we are unable to provide average wait times. Work to improve autism waiting times data is underway.